Lake Arrowhead provides the perfect summer nature getaway when you don’t have time to go far.
The mountains aren’t just for skiing anymore. Although Southern California is famous for a number of ski hills so close you can surf and ski in the same day, those identical mountains provide plenty of warm-weather activity that will rival the beach for your attention. Just over an hour southeast of Pasadena and 5,174 feet above sea level lies the charming mountain hamlet of Lake Arrowhead. Lake Arrowhead Village provides a number of shopping opportunities, while lodging and dining locales abound. Mother Nature is the real star, however. Hike miles of surrounding trails through the San Gabriel Mountains, or spend a day boating and picnicking by the lake. At Lake Arrowhead, you get away without going far.
The first priority is a trip on the LAKE ARROWHEAD QUEEN PADDLEWHEEL BOAT ($13 to $17). Though the narration incorporates too many puns and the references are dated, it’s still a relaxing ride highlighting the lake’s history and providing insider scoop about which famous people have homes here. For a stroll among the trees, head to HEAPS PEAK ARBORETUM for a 1-mile circular hike that’s easy for all ages in any season. Little ones will delight in LOLLIPOP PARK AT THE VILLAGE, which features bumper cars, a carousel, and a mini-train ride. Open everyday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
For breakfast or a decadent dessert, make your way to quaint BELGIAN WAFFLE WORKS, overlooking the lake. Throw caution to the wind and go for the Belgian S’more ($10.75) with chocolate ice cream, marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and graham cracker crumbs. When you’re ready for a great meal in a cozy space, visit little STONE CREEK BISTRO in Blue Jay. The menu is full of seasonally driven, locally sourced delights such as the arugula strawberry citrus salad ($12) and the grilled double-cut pork chop ($28).
The LAKE ARROWHEAD RESORT AND SPA ($170 and up) offers fireplaces in many corners—in the lobby for people-watching, in the restaurant BIN 189 for a glass of wine or a cocktail, or in a suite of your own ($650 and up). This is a good spot to revel in the mountain quiet or indulge in a Spa of the Pines Signature Massage ($150/50 minutes). For those looking for quintessential rustic cabins, or if you’re bringing a dog, try ARROWHEAD PINE ROSE CABINS ($109 and up).